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Saddle River Day and IHA advance to Bergen County Girls Final

The Bergen County Girls Tournament is down to Immaculate Heart Academy and Saddle River Day in the final.

IHA 57, Northern Valley Old Tappan 47

Down 15-13 to Old Tappan after the first quarter, Immaculate Heart Academy junior forward Anna Morris took over the game scoring nine points. Morris ended the half scoring 16 of her game-high 18 points as the Blue Eagles went into the intermission up 33-28.

IHA Head Coach Steve Silver on Morris: “Her agility on defense has improved, finishing off the dribble and turning and facing the basket. She is just making other players better. I would say that about a point guard, but the attention she draws and thinking through a step after she catches the ball and not always having to finish.”

Morris had help from teammates Emma Maestic, who contributed 12 points and Eliya Herriott who tallied 13 points. Leading by just two points with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, IHA went on a 7-1 run. Going into the final period up seven, junior guard Brittany Graff knocked down a trifecta to push the advantage to 46-36.

The Blue Eagles went on a 9-4 run putting the game out of reach. They advance to the championship game for the first time since 2015 where they defeated Immaculate Conception. Noelle Gonzalez led the Golden Knights in scoring with 17 points, while Jacyln Kelly added 13 points. Gianna Saccoccio chipped in 10 points.

“At halftime, the main thing we were talking about was that defense was going to win the game. They got 28, but we had to hold them to 20 in the second half and that was our goal,” said Silver.

Saddle River Day 82, Paramus Catholic 52

Saddle River Day head coach Danny Brown said when your team displays that type of defense, that’s what you expect from the onset of the game. But of course it wasn’t there and a lack of focus and engagement. Paramus Catholic came ready to play jumping out to a 16-15 advantage after the first quarter.

Saddle River Day heard Brown’s message loud and clear going on a 7-0 run to start the second quarter. Leading by four points with four minutes left, the Rebels finished on an 8-2 spurt to open up a 34-24 lead at halftime.

It only took Saddle River Day 23 seconds into the third quarter to go on a 6-0 blitz. Senior guard Michelle Sidor poured in 22 of her game-high 30 points as the Rebels widened the margin to over 20 points.

By the time the period ended, Saddle River Day led the Paladins 63-40 and never looked back. They coasted to a 30-point victory and advanced to their fourth straight championship game as they go for a four-peat. Jaida Patrick dropped 21 points while Sydnie Caldwell netted 11 points. Aria Myers led the Paramus Catholic with 19 points while Julianna Kasic provided 10 points.

“Between all five starters and kids coming in, our offense is not geared towards Michelle (Sidor). We know she is the number one scorer on the planet and we want the ball in her hands, but there other kids just as capable and when you have two or three on it’s great, but only one doesn’t work.”

“They are really working hard on the chemistry and making sure everyone gets the ball and open shots and their goal. They all love each other and want the best for each other so there is no jealousy. They are saying it’s my turn and it’s a matter of executing the offense.”

This was one of the goals coming into this season and I’m honored to be in this position again. It would mean a whole lot to our program, the school and what we have built and why we are working so hard.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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